The most recent issue of ACCES’ Quarterly Consumer Newsletter series explains a new enrollment procedure known as Enroll With Your Wallet. A full copy of the issue is available here. Sign up for future issues of the Quarterly Consumer Newsletter here.
Imagine if, in search of a new mobile phone plan or cable TV package, you were reviewing offers from other service providers. These services appealed to you for a variety of reasons – lower cost, the inclusion of better technology, the company’s reputation for good customer service, or the opportunity to select a more personalized product. After reviewing the options and comparing it to your current plan, you decide you would like to sign a contract with this company. But despite confirming detailed biographical data such as your phone number and billing address, before you can secure service with this provider, you are required to provide your twenty-digit customer number from your previous phone provider. This is not information that average consumers have at their fingertips, and would require you to find an old bill or look up your information online (which would require you to remember a SEPARATE password). This is an extra step that may cause you to rethink switching altogether. It can also result in consumers missing out on time-sensitive offers. In a consumer-driven, technology-laden market, cumbersome verification processes for a customer seeking an alternative product are out of place. While this isn’t really the process for switching phone carriers or cable TV providers, it is the process currently in place when a consumer wishes to switch their energy supply from their utility to a retail supplier.
To make the process easier for consumers to sign up for service with a retail energy supplier, several states are considering an Enroll With Your Wallet program. In most markets, to enroll with a retail energy supplier, in addition to biographical information such as name and service address, a potential customer is also required to provide their utility information as well as their customer account number.
This information is most readily available on a customer’s utility bill, but it is not necessarily information that a person has at their fingertips when engaging online, on the phone, or with a sales person. This can hinder the sign-up process for the potential consumer, and result in frustration and dissatisfaction with the retail energy choice market, especially in today’s “Amazon Now” world. Enroll With Your Wallet enables customers to sign up with an energy supplier using the information found on their driver’s license. This streamlines the sales process, while still ensuring proper consumer protections are maintained.View this News Release (external link)